Theses and Dissertations Frequently Asked Questions

Defenses Frequently Asked Questions


How do I schedule a defense?

To schedule your defense:

  • Consult with your advisor to determine if you are ready to defend.
  • Schedule a time to conduct the defense with your advisor and committee.
  • Book a room at the appropriate time, and reserve any necessary technology.
  • Submit the Pre-defense form to the Graduate School at least two weeks before your defense date.
  • Submit the complete defense draft of your dissertation, thesis, or report to the Graduate School and your committee at least two weeks before your defense date.


What is the deadline to defend this semester?

Beginning in fall 2015, students must defend no later than Tuesday of week 12 of the semester in order to be eligible to graduate in that semester.  Defenses can be scheduled after this date, but students will complete their degree in a future semester.  Current deadlines are available online.


I need to graduate this semester. What is the last day I can defend?

In summer 2015, the Graduate School has no deadline for your defense. You may defend at any time your advisor and committee agree that you are ready and they are available to meet.

Beginning in fall 2015, the recommended dates in the table below will become required deadlines to be eligible to complete a degree in a given semester.

For more information:

The Graduate Faculty Council recommends the following timeline to schedule a defense and complete a degree in a given semester.

MilestoneRecommended dates for summer 2015

Recommended last day to schedule a final oral examination

Recommended last day to hold a final oral examination

  • Your committee will recommend technical and formatting changes to your document.  Your ability to meet the next milestone will depend on what your committee requires.

Recommended last day to submit advisor and committee approved dissertation, thesis, or report and associated paperwork to the Graduate School

  • Instructions for a dissertationthesis, or report option
  • Students who submit by this date will have time to make minor formatting changes before the end of the semester deadline.
  • Please allow two weeks for the Graduate School to review your submission.
  • See the absolute deadline for your final submission on our web page


What do I need to submit before my defense?

At least two weeks before your defense submit:

  • The Pre-defense form to the Graduate School as a hard copy with signatures.
  • A complete defense draft of your dissertation, thesis, or report needs to be submitted to both:


Why are you requiring a draft of my thesis or dissertation when I schedule my oral defense?

The Graduate School will review your document to ensure that it meets the required submission guidelines, provide a copyright review of your document, and provide helpful suggestions for formatting. Reviewing your document prior to your oral defense will ensure that you have all of the corrections necessary to complete this degree requirement in a timely fashion after your oral defense. If you do not complete the required changes, your final document will not be approved, and there will be delays for your graduation.